Dakbokkeumtang (닭볶음탕) is very popular spicy chicken dish in Korea. It’s also called dakdoritang (닭도리탕).

This video is a remake of an earlier one I made in 2011 in Amsterdam with my reader Sarah. It was during my Gapshida tour, and Sarah hosted a meetup in her house. Ever since then when I have dakbokkeumtang I have to think about that beautiful time with my readers. Now as I update this video it’s already 2019 and I can’t believe how much time has passed! I hope everyone at the meetup has a happy life and is in good health, and I hope they are still making Korean dishes!

Usually dakbokkeumtang is made with chunks of whole chicken. Since I first posted this recipe many people have told me they made it with chicken breast, but it never sounded like a good idea to me because chicken breast is often so dry. But I’ve been experimenting for some time now, trying to make juicy dakbokkeumtang with chicken breast.  I’ve found that using milk works well, and it also gets rid of any chicken smell. I also use apple instead of sugar. I was very happy when the experiments turned out successful enough to share with you.

Even though I’ve updated this recipe and video, the original video will always remain, because the recipe is delicious and a part of my life and memories. No matter what ingredients are available to you – chicken breasts, wings, or thighs, sugar or apple – you can make great dakbokkeumtang.

Enjoy the recipe! Be happy with your delicious dakbokkeumtang!


Serves 2 to 3

  • 1 pound chicken breasts (about 2 large chicken breasts)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch thick bite sized chunks
  • 1 medium onion (6 ounces), sliced
  • 1 green chili pepper, chopped
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1 inch long

For seasoning paste:


Prepare the chicken:

  1. Cut each breast crosswise into 2½ inch chunks. You will get about 4 pieces.
  2. Make 1 inch deep slits into each chunk ½ inch apart.  Transfer them all to a medium bowl and sprinkle the salt over top and in the slits evenly.
  3. Add the milk and gently mix to marinate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Meanwhile make the seasoning paste:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a spoon.

Cook dakbokkeumtang:

  1. Put a piece of chicken on the cutting board, the slit side up. Use your hands to push a few apple slices into each slit.
  2. Then transfer it to a pan or pot. I use a shallow 9½ inch pan that’s 2½ inches deep.
  3. Repeat with the rest of chicken and the apple slices. If you have some leftover apple slices, put them anywhere in the pan.
  4. Add the seasoning paste over the top of the chicken and add 2½ cups water. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over medium high heat.dakbokkeumtang (Korean spicy braised chicken: dakdoritang: 닭볶음탕, 닭도리탕
  5. Add the potato, onion, and green chili pepper. Gently stir the chicken and vegetables with a wooden spoon. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for another 15 minutes. If it boils over or the water is boiled down, add more water and crack the lid open a little.  dakbokkeumtang (Korean spicy braised chicken: dakdoritang: 닭볶음탕, 닭도리탕
  6. Open and add the green onions. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir for 1 minute until vigorously bubbling.dakbokkeumtang (Korean spicy braised chicken: dakdoritang: 닭볶음탕, 닭도리탕
  7. Remove from the heat


  1. Transfer to the table and serve right away in the pan with rice, kimchi, and a few more side dishes. If you cook this in a large pot, you can use a ladle and transfer to a plate and serve.

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  1. Geaux985 Washington joined 12/21 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I lived in Korea for 2 years (ARMY). I love Korean food and love that I can now make it now. I have your 2ND book and every recipe is 10/10!
    The Dakbokkeumtang was great; I just made it. Take care.

    See full size image

  2. Noetherian New Jersey joined 4/20 & has 3 comments

    Thank you for the tasty recipe! My chicken breasts still ended up a bit dry but I think my stovetop runs hot, so I’ll try it over a slightly lower heat next time. It was still super tasty, especially the potatoes! Thank you Maangchi! :)

    See full size image

  3. FuegoDiego Minneapolis, MN joined 2/20 & has 1 comment

    I am excited to try this dish, but I am looking for the recipe for the cucumber salad you have on the side in this video. Can you help me find it?

  4. Chiacchiera Redwood City, California joined 10/19 & has 1 comment

    Love your recipe, so tasty and the leftovers are scrumptiously delicious!
    I am not into overly spicy food (just a bit spicy) and this dish was too hot for my family. What can I modify to make this dish just a little less spicy-hot? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    BTW, i marinated the chicken in buttermilk and it was very tasty

  5. yangjein Salt Lake City joined 7/19 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!

    Can you tell me the name of the shallow pot that you are using??

    thank you so much!!

  6. Mamtha Germany joined 5/19 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi

    we love spicy dishes. i have crazy Korean cuisine fan – my daughter :).
    i am really gonna try this dish

    i am so impressed by your cleanliness while cooking :)


  7. Eby1 Israel joined 5/19 & has 2 comments

    It looks amazing and I would like to try it!
    in case some one is allergic to. Lactose, do you think I can replace the milk with water? Or, could you suggest any other liquid instead?

    Many thanks, for all of your great recipes.

    • jsp73 joined 3/15 & has 32 comments

      Milk works, but there are several ways to keep such a lean cut of chicken moist. Not all involve milk. My recommendation is brine, but you HAVE to be cautious or your chicken will become overly salty — especially considering how small she cuts the chicken. Here’s an overview of a few of the ways to keep breasts tender and moist –
      A. Milk, not common, but I can see how it works because milk DOES contain lactic acid and that will tenderize chicken.
      B. Buttermilk – many more acids and active cultures to tenderize chicken. This technique has been used in the Southern US for ages when making moist, delicious fried chicken.
      C. Yogurt – has been used for centuries in more than one country to tenderize chicken — (tandoori, for example). Same principle as buttermilk.
      D. Some citrus – kiwi in particular, but I do not recommend this for this particular recipe because of the flavor and, finally,
      E. BRINING — a classic technique. You will need to look it up to understand the chemistry. Basically, equal parts sugar and salt (or even honey and salt — even Korean rice syrup and salt!) dissolved in water. Via osmosis, this changes the chemistry of the exterior of the meat (or all of it… if done too long… will turn meat into something that tastes like “ham” if you are not careful about brining time). Do a web search “BRINE CHICKEN”. Breasts, especially when cut up, definitely don’t need to be brined for more than an hour.

  8. stonefly Olympia WA joined 11/11 & has 61 comments

    This is such a wonderful dish. But I miss the “Quarter cup day!” comment! And great to see you love the same sparkling water that I love!

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